C. MOORE Hardy has been documenting Sydney’s LGBTI community for more than 30 years, especially the annual Mardi Gras parade, but for the second year in a row has been denied full access to photograph along the parade route tomorrow night.

Hardy said she has been working behind the scenes for six months pleading with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board to grant her access all areas (AAA) to the parade route.

After her months of campaigning were not successful, Hardy took to her personal Facebook page to plead for community assistance to convince Mardi Gras organisers to give her AAA to photograph the parade.

Only four photographers who are employed by Mardi Gras have AAA photography access. All other photographers who are not employed by the organisation are assigned to media bays along the parade route for safety reasons.

Hardy, who has been photographing the parade every year since the 1980s, is one of those photographers who has been assigned to one of the media bays behind the barricade at Taylor Square with other photographers who are not employed by Mardi Gras.

“I’ve documented the parade for 30 years, thousands of my photos are in the Sydney City archive,” she said.

“I see (having full access) as important to having a continuity of history, especially while I’m still alive.

“Last year when I applied, I was given access but didn’t realise I would be barricaded in with other photographers.

“I watched as a lot of straight photographers walked past the barricade onto the parade. I watched as they did it, when they were told they weren’t supposed to, I stayed where I had been told.”

Hardy said she felt hurt that she hadn’t been recognised as an institution of the Mardi Gras Parade.

“I have quite a few mixed emotions, on the one hand it makes my angry, makes me feel sad, it makes me feel stronger,” she told the Star Observer.

“This is not the way you treat your photographers, you don’t treat your community like this. For this to happen I’m persona non grata as far as (Mardi Gras) are concerned.”

Star Observer: Issue 1, page 1 (Cover photo: C.Moore; Source: Star Observer Archives)

The first ever edition of the Star Observer features a photo taken by C.Moore Hardy. (Source: Star Observer Archives)

In a written statement sent to the Star Observer, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said restricting how many photographers were allowed onto the parade route was a safety issue.

“With so many people marching in support of the LGBTQI community our priority, from a logistics point of view, is to ensure the safety of the thousands walking on Saturday night and the hundreds of thousands watching,” the organisation said.

“Everyone who is accredited, as is the case with C.Moore, has access to one of four media areas inside the parade route. They also have access to the marshalling area before it all starts to capture our fabulous marchers up close. These media areas provide excellent access and views to photograph or video the parade as it passes by and also keep media personnel safe during the night.

“We wouldn’t be the global beacon of diversity we are today if the parade had not grown into what it currently is. In the interest of giving everyone fair and equal access to spread our messages to the world and provide a safe environment for our marchers, these logistics are a necessity.”

Sydney’s LGBTI community has rallied behind Hardy and has inundated the Mardi Gras Facebook page with messages of support for the photographer, calling on the organisation to grant AAA access to the parade route.

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[DISCLAIMER: Star Observer’s staff photographer, Ann-Marie Calilhanna, is one of the four photographers who has been granted AAA. She is also employed by Mardi Gras and Star Observer is a media partner of the organisation.]

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